A few days ago, I had the privilege of being a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding. Just attending a major event like this when struggling with a chronic illness can be challenging, let alone being part of the wedding party itself. Three days before the wedding, I had a bad day and was unable to accomplish much of what I had planned. I spent most of the time in bed feeling pretty rough and hoping that I wouldn’t be feeling that way on the wedding day.
I rested up as much as possible over the weekend, avoiding certain activities and chores that I’d normally try and do so that I’d give myself the best chance of having the strength and energy needed for the wedding day on Monday. The wedding was about 2hrs away from where I live so we stayed at an AirB&B Sunday night so as to avoid having a long journey in the morning – especially with an early start to get ready with the other bridesmaids and the bride herself.
It was a beautiful sunny and warm day (which can’t be guaranteed in the UK!) and the settings for the wedding and reception were beautiful. The bride looked radiant and her husband gave a moving speech at the reception about their relationship that left several people with moist eyes.
I had been praying (and so had others) that I would have a good day so as to be able to cope with the long hours and activities. I’m thankful that God answered that prayer beyond my hopes and I felt well the entire day with no major issues at all – my first full ‘well’ day in several weeks. I actually felt like a ‘normal’ person!
If you’re looking to attend, or be part of, a wedding or another special event that requires a lot of energy and time doing activities and being social, then following are a few ideas/suggestions you might want to consider so that you can make the most of the event and feel as well as possible.
1. Plan in advance
Consider the event and plan the best way to cope with it. Trying to ‘wing it’ on the day might work but most likely, you’ll struggle more than you would if you had planned how to make life as easy as possible given your particular circumstances.
As part of your planning, you’ll want to plan time to rest before the big event. That may mean rescheduling things you would normally do so that you stand a better chance of coping on the day. For example, I wanted to rest as much as possible over the weekend so I postponed our grocery shopping until a couple of days after we returned from the wedding and I skipped church on Sunday morning to rest and so that the only ‘event’ that day was packing and our 2hr journey.
3. Stay overnight
If the location of the event is some distance away, one way to ease pressure on the day would be stay overnight somewhere local so as to avoid the stress of a journey on the same day as everything else. Not only is a journey tiring in itself but you never know what might happen with traffic delays or car trouble. You don’t want that stress on the day of a big event!
4. Take your meds
This might seem obvious but, depending on how many meds you take, it can be a bit of a palaver. Some of us are a bit like walking chemists so that we can function! My suggestion would be to combine all the meds you need to take into a small baggie. If you take meds at different times of the day, then combine the relevant ones into different bags and label the bags if necessary. I use the small baggies that are often used for organising jewellery and things like that. They’re cheap and easy to find online or at craft stores. These are great for storing quite a few pills in one bag as well as powders.
5. Carry painkillers with you
You may or may not take painkillers regularly but it’s a good idea to have them with you on a day that’s busier and potentially more stressful than usual. It can be hard to tell how our bodies will respond to extra stress and stimulation.
6. Take a fan
Whether you take a fan of some kind or another method to keep yourself cool, this can be very beneficial in hot or crowded situations. Keep in mind that it may not even be hot outside but a crowded room can get hot quickly.
7. Stay hydrated
This is useful for anyone but especially those for whom dehydration can cause particular problems – like POTS and those with low blood pressure. It’s easy not to drink much when we’re ‘on the go’ because there’s so much else going on and, let’s face it, it’s not exactly convenient to have to keep popping off to the bathroom! However, if having plenty of fluids is important in managing your condition, then don’t skimp during important events if you can possibly help it. I drank one litre of electrolyte water during the time we were getting our hair and makeup done so that I was well hydrated by the time of the wedding ceremony. In a situation like this, you may want to finish drinking 1hr before the actual event so that you don’t feel uncomfortable during the event itself!
8. Have snacks on you
For some events, it’s hard to know when you’ll get a chance to eat so take some snacks that you can munch on if needed. The wedding breakfast wasn’t until 4pm so we basically skipped lunch, although canapés were provided at the reception. If you have hypoglycemic tendencies, though, you won’t want to risk not having something with you. Keep in mind that you may not be able to wash so choose something that’s not sticky or likely to cause a mess! You may also want to use a hand sanitiser before eating as well in order to avoid the risk of catching something – especially if you have a low immune system.
9. Pace and rest
Find opportunities where possible to rest so you can pace yourself throughout the day. This may look like sitting whenever possible or even taking a short break to lie down somewhere if needed. Depending on the event and your particular participation in it, you may want to consider borrowing a wheelchair if that would enable you to cope with the day better.
10. Don’t be afraid
Most of us don’t like drawing attention to ourselves and I know that for me, I really didn’t want to have health problems and distract in any way from the couple’s special day. I also wanted to accommodate them in any way I could so their day could run as they wanted. However, it’s also important to recognise that sometimes we do need to speak up and stand up for the needs we have. Mentioning specific needs and things to put in place to give you the best chance of getting through the day is more likely to cause less trouble than not saying anything and then end up struggling or even ‘causing a scene’!
I hope that these suggestions are helpful and will enable you to be better prepared for your next big event. Are there any other things you can think of that could be added to this list?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]